What do you do when someone asks you if you want to take a listen to the new Scientists of Sound album before its official release?
You say “Yes! I sure do!”
And then, if you’re me, you get busy and lose track of the days and realize that by the time you actually sit down and listen and write about the album, it has already been released.
Anyway, my own lack of focus aside, I DID listen to the album, and I DO have track-by-track commentary, and they ARE putting on a show tomorrow night (Friday the 21st) at the Seahorse and you SHOULD go. But first, some background info.
Scientists of Sound (SOS) are producers Colin Crowell (keyboards, bass, trumpet) and Craig Mercer (guitar, keys, drums, vocals). Described as ‘live looping dance madness,’ they’ve been creating beats since 2010, much to the delight of Canadian club-goers everywhere. This is them:
So without further ado, here’s the rundown of thoughts, feelings and emotions that I had while listening to Electric Scissors (conveniently available for purchase at your friendly neighborhood iTunes store).
1. Statik Klingon – Strong start to the album for sure. My exact thoughts were “I can get into this.” I could really imagine myself dancing to this at Tribecca. (RIP Tribecca – I wish you were still open.)
2. PONTIAC – The first few seconds of the song took me back to when I was a kid and was obsessed with playing Super Mario brothers. You know the sound that happened when Mario turned into the Raccoon and was jumping and flying and getting coins… that’s what I’m hearing up to about 00:12. Thumbs up for nostalgia.
3. Run With It – I do have a soft spot for a strings section (or what sounds like strings). Again, really like the opening. In another life, this might be the theme song of a cool 80’s action cartoon. Agree? Disagree? Bueller?
4. Stare the Wolf in the Eyes (and become him but stronger) – Cool title. SOS demonstrates with this one that a song doesn’t necessarily need words to send a message.
5. Furiosity Killed the Cat – Do you ever feel like you get ripped off a bit when albums have songs that are super short and the whole thing is like half an hour long? Well good news, because this album has quite a few songs over the 5 minute bar. This particular gem clocks in at almost 7 minutes. Another wordless wonder, it kind of sounds like a rock opera.
6. All Around the Drowned – SOS shows off their ability to craft some serious lyrics here. This track definitely has more of a somber tone than its predecessors, featuring lines like “all around the drowned, far away from the underground, trying to get ahead, but I feel like I’m halfway dead…” Kind of a mid-album break so you can catch your breath a bit, then keep dancing.
7. The Brightest Light in the Sky (is not a star at all) – Again, nice work on the title. I was actually really hoping for some lyrics to illuminate the concept (no pun intended). Starts off pretty mellow, takes a sharp turn into dance town at the 2:00 mark, and then returns to its roots around the 5:00 mark. I’m reminded a bit of Digitalism’s Zdarlight on this one. (Which isn’t a bad thing.)
8. Electric Scissors – I listened to these in order, so you can imagine my anticipation when it came to the titular track. Some clever lyrics in here and I personally find it satisfying to hear the part of the song where they actually say the song/album name. Electric Scissors, you did not disappoint.
9. Train REC – Big guitar on this one. I found myself thinking that I’d love to sit down with the scientists themselves and talk about how they decide on track names, especially for the ones that have no lyrics.
10. HUSWORTH – What does HUSWORTH mean? I don’t know, but this track has a certain triumphant/anthemic quality that I enjoyed.
11. Mothership – They do a sneak attack with unexpected vocals that kick in about 1/2 way through (I appreciate that, because I like to be able to sing along). I love the very end of the song that finishes on some fanfare which sounds like it belongs in an old school movie. Nice touch.
Overall impressions: You will dance. You may also be inspired to start working out again because this would be such a great album to listen to while running (or doing any sort of cardio… your choice). If you listen to this and can’t even manage a head bob, fist pump, or shoulder shimmy… you need to take a minute and lighten up. I now have an understanding of why the dance floor gets absolutely torn up at every single show these guys put on. It will definitely be on the rotation this summer.
For a way more professional-sounding review from an actual professional arts reporter, please click here.